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: From Noon Till Three (Frank D. Gilroy, 1976)  ( 5210 )
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"Clear the ground of their traitorous feet!"

« : May 11, 2008, 01:50:35 PM »


Charles Bronson (Graham Dorsey), Jill Ireland (Amanda)

On their way to rob a bank, Graham Dorsey, a member of a gang of robbers, stops at a house owned by a wealthy widow after his horse goes lame. Deciding to stay at the house till his gang goes through with the job, they embark on the bank job while Dorsey keeps the widow company. Through some comedic situations both Dorsey and the widow, Amanda fall in love and have a fling from noon till three. Upon the realization his friends have been captured, Dorsey decides to ride on ahead in the hopes of rescuing them. Along the way, a posse chases after him. Dorsey then switches clothes with a peddler who gets shot for mistaken identity. The posse rides back to the widows home with the supposed body of Dorsey. Upon recognizing his clothes, she believes he is in fact dead. Bronson gets arrested once he arrives in the town and Amanda, heart-broken, writes a book on their three hour affair. Years later, Bronson returns to Amanda who denounces his proclamations that he is Graham Dorsey. Upon realizing he is telling the truth, Amanda cannot allow them to carry on where they left off as so many people's lives were touched by her book. Should the truth come out that he is still alive, it could be catastrophic for those who got inspiration from her book.

Charles Bronson was always critically derided for his acting ability and regardless of what critics might say he is damn good here and appears happy to be participating in a role that doesn't require him to blow away rapists and murderers. He also gets ample dialog and gets to emote a lot as opposed to his usual tortured hero roles. This film isn't so much a straight comedy than it is a romantic comedy that, towards the end, takes a slightly dark turn that still is humorous, but renders the final shot blackly comical and I would imagine there's the possibility that this wasn't the only ending shot.

Bronson also got to play a lighter role the year prior in the action comedy BREAKOUT (1975), one of his biggest hits in which he played a con man prodded into breaking into a Mexican prison to break a woman's husband out of there. Bronson was a natural at doing low key comedy it's just a shame he wasn't given many opportunities to do so. Even in interviews he stated that every script he gets is filled with violence and that he disliked doing all those movies but that's what the public wanted to see from him. The few films that deterred from that formula performed poorly at the box office, like FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976).

Ireland starred alongside her husband Bronson in well over a dozen movies including VIOLENT CITY (1970), SOMEONE BEHIND THE DOOR (1971), THE VALACHI PAPERS (1972), HARD TIMES (1975), BREAKHEART PASS (1976) and ASSASSINATION (1987) among them. There chemistry here is notable and the pair obviously loved each other very much, an aspect of their relationship that was dully noted in various write ups and publications.

Not particularly recommended for those who only want to see Bronson blowing away scum on the street, there is far more depth found here in this romantic tragi-comedy western. The latter part of the film in which Bronson tries desperately to get people to believe he is who he says he is mirrors his acting career; for years he tried to convince studios and audiences alike that he was capable of so much more than a DEATH WISH sequel but nobody was buying it. A real shame. FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976) is a curious and interesting Bronson vehicle that's highly recommended for those who would like to see something a little bit different from the prolific and misunderstood actor Charles Bronson.

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